Biological management, rather than chemical management, promotes the interaction between plants and their microbiome

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In the face of climate change, developing sustainable agricultural practices to reduce the use of synthetic herbicides and pesticides is crucial. However, breeding for higher yields can lead to the decoupling of plant roots and beneficial rhizosphere microbes. In this study, we aim to identify potato cultivars with functional traits facilitating efficient interactions with the rhizosphere microbiome under various agricultural treatments in the field. With the results of profiling microbial communities with amplicon sequencing data of bacteria (16S rRNA gene fragments) and fungi (ITS2 region), a piecewise structural equation model was developed. This model explains the trade-off effects of agricultural management and potato cultivars on plant growth by affecting the rhizosphere microbiome. Furthermore, we highlight that plant cultivar and the rhizosphere microbiome together determine plant below-ground growth under biological management. In contrast, both components are found to be uncoupled under chemical and control management. Our study reveals the importance of considering microbiomes in the breeding process to achieve the goals of sustainable agriculture.

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